Manager of troubled Illinois anti-violence program now running similar agency

May 8, 2014

Toni Irving, the head of Get In Chicago, announces the 11 winners of grant applications Wednesday to mentor and give therapy to Chicago youth at a new conference with Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Irving had previously run a similar program for the State of Illinois that’s now under investigation.
Credit Tony Arnold / Illinois Public Radio/WBEZ
The head of a troubled state-funded anti-violence agency is now running a similar program. Get In Chicago is a 50-million dollar public-private partnership that gives out grants to community groups around the city.

In a news conference with Mayor Rahm Emanuel Wednesday, the program announced 11 grant winners totaling nearly 2 million dollars. That money comes from many of the areas largest corporations.

Get In Chicago is run by Toni Irving, who ran a similar fund for the governor’s office. That state fund is now the subject of multiple investigations by Illinois lawmakers, Cook County prosecutors, and federal prosecutors.

A recent audit shows the agency inappropriately spent the money. And cash didn’t go to the most violent neighborhoods.

Toni Irving wouldn’t comment for this story. But Thomas Wilson, the chairman of Northbrook-based Allstate Insurance, which is funding Get In Chicago defends Irving saying she designed a state of the art process to determine who should get the grant money.